Four Rooms on East Main: Part Four: The Tomboy


Bridgeport, CT

East Side

Beardsley School



  1. The Tomboy

The girls moved in an anxious fifth grade cluster. “Tori. We’ve been concerned about you.” Donna Pulaski blurted out this important news, sounding very grown up. “You’re getting too old to still be a tomboy.”

Mary Ellen Ruggerrio nodded like an eager seal pup. “Yes. We’re very concerned!” She spit a little bit when she blurted “Con-cerned!”  She looked Tori up and down. Beardsley School didn’t let girls wear pants, but even in her blue jumper Tori looked boyish. “For one thing, you should start thinking about, well, a, well, a training bra.”

Tori stuffed the rest of her Ring Ding into her mouth, licked the chocolate off her fingers. She looked down at her flat chest and back up at the girls, who were all taller than her. “A what? For what?” She eyed the boys’ kickball game. Recess was almost over, and she didn’t want to miss the rest of the game.

The girl group nodded as one.

“You comin or WHAT?”  Jimmy Sha-Sha yelled, pushing a shock of dark hair from his face. The cutest coolest boy in fifth grade. He stayed back three times, and was so bad and so cute that even the eighth grade girls liked him.  Rumor was he even smoked dope. Tori wasn’t sure what dope was, but she cherished her friendship with Sha-Sha.

“Gotta go!” She ran and joined the game and didn’t look back. She had no idea what the girls were talking about. She would tell her brother, he would explain it to her. Nicky was sixteen and knew everything.

Tori got one good kick at the semi-deflated pink ball before the bell rang, managed to run all the bases and made a home run. The playground was nothing but a bumpy trash-strewn parking lot, the run-down school surrounded by busy streets and smelly belching factories. Running back to class, she knew she’d get in trouble for being late.  But it was worth it.  Slipping into her wooden seat attached to an ancient wooden desk she forgot about the committee of nosy girls. She wondered who would be out after school to play kickball in the street. She’d stay out until the street lights came on.

© Copyright 2016 by Sara Jacobelli



Photo Credit: “Kickball.”



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